Kingston Head of the River 2014 – J16/15 Preview

One of my favorite heads, normally the penultimate ‘big’ event on the Thames before Head of the River. However, Schools Head is coming around later than normal thanks to the extreme flooding and I’m actually quite surprised this weekends event is going ahead, especially after seeing the flooding on the Kingston stretch in January when visiting family.

J16 8+
The clear favorites here are Kingston Grammar School. From what I understand, they have lost one of their powerhouse members, Luke Hillier, who has been moved into the J18 4x. However they are still a very fast crew and are likely to have the use of the clubs best boat, the Hudson, as I don’t believe they have any other eights rowing. Fierce rivals, Kingston Rowing Club could also do quite well after having two good quads at Thames Valley. Bedford and Radley could do the same and I reckon that these three boats will be competing to get into the top three. Obviously, KGS aren’t unbeatable but I think it will take a lot to beat them.

J16 4x
Windsor Boys should take this. Interestingly, Kingston RC don’t appear to have entered an A quad as it was Kingston who were successful in beating them at Kingston Regatta last year. Windsor took second at the recent Junior Sculling Head behind a very strong Westminster Crew. I highly doubt anyone will beat them, but if anybody is likely to do so, it’s Tiffin School. Tiffin had two members racing at the Boston J16 trials and their quad is made of their two doubles, one of which won the Hampton Head. However, the quad is often known to row as two doubles as the bow pair and stern pair have quite different technique which seems to slow the boat down quite lot. Windsor Boys’ 2nd Quad could also do quite well. I look forward to seeing the result of this one.

WJ16 4x
Unfortunately quite a small event, however it’s a small event with three crews who are close rivals, similar to that of Marlow and Sir William Borlase. Kingston’s two crews should take 1st and 2nd with Tiffin just behind. Although, there is a possibility that Tiffin and KRC (Stilling) could be quite closely matched as this crew as far as I know hasn’t raced before.

J15 4x+
Never done a J15 event before so please don’t judge me if I’m wrong, but I believe 1st place will go to one of three crews. Walton, Kingston and Windsor Boys. Walton contains the younger brother of Harry Christie, and if he’s anything like his brother, this should be a very very fast crew. Kingston RC looks to contain their very fast J15 double of Fellows and Rowe who took 1st at Weybridge Silver Sculls and Hampton Head. They are very fast and would surprisingly have done incredibly well, had they entered the J16 event at Hampton Small Boats. We haven’t seen much from Windsor Boys, however, the coaches there currently seem to have a very strong squad in all age groups. Again, I believe these crews should come out on top but please, don’t blame me if I’m wrong.